Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Published June 11, 2019 by Avon

Average rating on Goodreads: 3.78 Stars

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

 

Synopsis:

After an injury ends Travis Ford’s major league baseball career, he returns home to start over. He just wants to hammer out his frustrations at his new construction gig and forget all about his glory days. But he can’t even walk through town without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his buddy’s little sister, who is definitely not a kid anymore.

Georgette Castle has crushed on her older brother’s best friend for years. The grumpy, bear of a man working for her family’s house flipping business is a far cry from the charming sports star she used to know. But a moody scowl doesn’t scare her and Georgie’s determined to show Travis he’s more than a pretty face and a batting average, even if it means putting her feelings aside to be “just friends.”

Travis wants to brood in peace. But the girl he used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman who makes him feel whole again. And he wants her. So damn bad. Except Georgie’s off limits and he knows he can’t give her what she deserves. But she’s becoming the air he breathes and Travis can’t stay away, no matter how hard he tries…

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My Review:

“Last time she was in this room, he’d still considered her kind of a pest. Stephen’s sleepy little sister. Now? She’d become the sexy temptation in his bedroom at an alarming rate.”

Fix Her Up was my first read by Tessa Bailey. From the moment I saw this book trending on Instagram, I knew I had to read it. This book just screams Summer Romance Reading so I went into it 100% persuaded I was beginning a new favorite book with each page.

What kept this book from being a new favorite was the overly dramatic hitting over the head reminders that the  “brother’s friend” trope was keeping Georgie and Travis from acting on their feelings. This is one of my favorite tropes in romance but if done wrong, it can annoy the heck out of me. Up until about the 150’ish page mark, it was just too much.

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Got it. Travis is friends with Stephen, Georgie’s brother but pretty much everyone in Georgie’s family refuses to acknowledge that she’s a 20 something and even Travis for a while until things become sexy between them, still looks at her like his ‘little sister,’ which is kind of creepy when things eventually turn sexy.

“For a while there I couldn’t walk two feet without tripping over you. Now nothing.”

I seriously cringed at all of the reminders that Georgia used to be this annoying kid. Like, stop bringing it up so much..she’s an entire adult now! Luckily at page 108 even Georgie is sick of it..

“Trust me, Travis Ford couldn’t care less if I go on a date. For some reason, he decided to show up and make me feel like an incompetent child.” Georgie swallowed hard. “And I’m really over people making me feel this way.”

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The second half of this book was amazing. I loved it. It was sexy as hell. I loved the scenes where Georgie has time with her sister and friend Rosie which turns into a whole other thing that I hope we see more of in books to come, but despite all of that, the first half pissed me off so bad, the second half wasn’t strong enough alone to redeem it. I don’t like when an author doesn’t trust me as the reader to understand what they’re trying to convey. What Tessa Bailey did was constantly throw either actual dialogue out there between Travis and Georgie where he says something slick, to keep her in her place as ‘friends little sister,’ I’m not sure if more so for himself or for Georgie or have us in Travis’s head as he thinks these thoughts.

“They never should have been spending time together in the first place. This was exactly what he needed–a wake-up call. If Stephen knew they’d been hanging out, he’d deck him. Travis would deserve it, too. He’d apologize for missing the appointment next time she showed up to pester him. Then he’d send Georgie on her way. For good this time. Still, when he put his phone back in his pocket, the guilt and unease refused to fade.”

Then the book turns into a fake dating plot which to me felt like the brother’s friend trope which was heavy in the first half, couldn’t be written strong enough to Carry the book In its entirety.  I didn’t mind it too much because it added something new to the story but it was like shortly after we start the part of the book with this new plot, she quickly wraps up loose ends that wouldn’t be able to work with new trope and it just changed the pacing and honestly it felt like a whole new book.

A whole new book that I didn’t mind. The sex scenes were hot between Georgie and Travis. Travis was an okay hero and although this book was just okay to me, there is something about Georgie that I think will stick with me for a while. She reminds me of the girl from He’s Just Not That Into You for some reason. She was innocent, fun and still coming into her own..and still crushing on her childhood crush, finally getting the guy.

If you have read this book let’s chat about it. If you haven’t read it, I’d love for you to give it a try so we can chat about it. I am definitely excited to see where this new series goes, this one in particular just didn’t work for me.

xo.

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Rebel by Beverly Jenkins

Rebel by Beverly Jenkins

Book 1 in the new series, “Women Who Dare”

Published May 28, 2019 by Avon

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.40 Stars

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

 

Synopsis:

Valinda Lacey’s mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans is to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. But soon she discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.

As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda’s determination. And he can’t stop admiring—or wanting—her. But when Valinda’s father demands she return home to marry a man she doesn’t love, her daring rebellion draws Drake into an irresistible intrigue.

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My Thoughts:

Beverly Jenkins is my go to with historical romance. For the longest, I didn’t think this romance sub-genre was for me. As a woman of color it was just very hard to see myself in the popular titles I find recommended by romance readers for others looking to get into this sub-genre. Then I found Beverly Jenkins.

As soon as I saw she had a new release coming out, I snagged myself a copy and only a few weeks later, my library hold of the audiobook came through.

I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I am still on the high that I’ve been on since finishing the last page. Have all the thoughts, all the feels and am basically going to fangirl, nerdOut, share with you the many reasons why I couldn’t rate this book any less than 5 stars.

Rebel is book one in Jenkins’s new series, Women Who Dare, and this book really stayed on brand with the series name. Our heroine, Val, is living in New Orleans in the years after the Civil War and it’s a racist, classist, crap show. It is so dangerous. We see not only white supremacist groups who want to turn back time, but even the evils from men from Val’s own race. You would think there would be this sense of cohesion during this time, but hell no! Val isn’t even from New Orleans. She is from New York City, so as I read this book I kept thinking, “She doesn’t even have to deal with this mess, she could just go home.” She has her reasons why doesn’t want to go home, but the most admirable reason is that she wants to stay and help make change.

I loved that Val is a teacher, in New Orleans teaching freedmen and children how to read. Knowledge is power and by keeping this ability away from people, you’re able to control them. Teachers are already superheroes, but add in a heroine in this profession during a time period where people didn’t want to see people of color learning this skill, and I’m a forever fan.

This romance was feminist as f*ck! Val refused to give into the role her father, back home in New York insisted she play. He turned his nose up at her educating herself so she had to do so on the low. Her grandmother was a slave who escaped on foot by herself. There were sprinkles of women defying the roles expected of them, in hopes of bettering themselves all throughout this book–and what made me even more happy was that Drake, our hero was a supporter of it, every time.

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I love the respect all of the characters show for the matriarch of the family. I haven’t read a Beverly Jenkins romance yet where this wasn’t done and it makes me think of my own family and how on both sides, my Grandmother’s are the center of everything.

The romance between Drake and Val was slow but real. Val grew up with no real examples of what a healthy relationship looked like so as her feelings grew, she was very unsure. I admired Drake for his patience sprinkled with a tad bit of persistence with her. I feel like with Beverly Jenkins’s historical the entire time period and setting could honestly be the conflict for the romance. Literally the time period makes it hard enough to be together. I know after a full day of just trying to survive, I’d be too tired to think about love  but in spite of all that, she still is able to weave a dark moment into the story that has me rooting when we finally reach that happily ever after.

Each time I read one of her romances, I finish and have all of this new information I never knew before and this was no exception. Rebel is full of New Orleans history and in true Jenkins fashion it is weaved flawlessly into the story, transporting you to that time period with such ease.

I can’t give this book enough praise. It was a wonderful ride. Literally not even 5 pages in and I was holding my breath, sitting on the edge of my seat. Jenkins really kicked this one off with a bang and never really let up! I can’t wait to see whose story comes next. I have an idea whose it is, and my fingers are crossed that I’m right!

xo.

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A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

It is a gloomy Friday evening as I’m lounging on my sofa typing this post and I deserve this chill! Life is great at the moment, and my Friday mood was made even better because I finished A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole which I have been reading for the past few days..

A Princess in Theory is Book 1 in Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series

Published February 27, 2018 by Avon

Average Goodreads Rating of 3.84 Stars on Goodreads

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

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Synopsis:

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

 

My Thoughts:

“I feel like my entire life has been me trying to keep everything together, but right now I want to fall apart. And I want you to be the guy that makes me.”

Read This Book! I totally understand now why this book has been so hyped up. The hype this book receives is a huge part of the reason it took me so long to read it (finally)! I was nervous. I was a bit intimidated.

I honestly just want to share a few reasons why I think you should jump on the bandwagon like I finally did, and pick A Princess In Theory up.

  • Royalty romances are a pretty big deal, but when was the last time you picked one up where the Princess was a woman of color betrothed to an African Prince? I’ll wait. If royalty romances are your jam, I dare you to read this one that steps away from the norm and features two people of color. *triple dog dare*
  • Naledi, our heroine in A Princess in Theory grew up an orphan in New York City. Alyssa Cole wrote Naledi’s character so well. She is such a complex woman. There are so many layers to her. One minute she frustrated the hell out of me, the next I wanted to be her best friend and the next she had me totally confused. The big issue with Naledi is all of her life she was passed from one family to the next. She never felt as though anyone *chose* her. Alyssa Cole really captured the repercussions of that and showcased what life as an adult who experienced that can be like. Because of this Naledi doesn’t expect any of the relationships she has with people to be anything long term. She always has the mentality basically of, “why would they choose you?”
  • Thabiso! Prince Thabiso finds himself humbled real quick during his visit to NYC. I enjoyed the fake identity trope while it lasted. Seeing how much Thabiso enjoyed his time as Jamal really made me put into perspective how much work being a royal must be.
  • Likotsi. Okay, had I not already read Once Ghosted, Twice Shy I’d be begging for Likotsi to have a novel of her own but as I do..I read her novella before even reading this book. Likotsi is Thabiso’s assistance and I love her. She is so much more technologically advanced than basically everyone and I was here for it.
  • I think this romance did a fantastic job of looking at identity from the perspective of a woman of color who basically had no idea who she was thanks to her crappy upbringing. Naledi grew up the way she did, then finds herself on the complete opposite of the spectrum.
  • It shows what greed and hatred can push people to do.
  • Naledi is so smart and hustles her butt off. Even she, as smart as she is though, takes one co-workers crap one too many times before finally standing up for herself. And when she did, she got a Hell Yeah from me as I read it.
  • The romance was also very complicated. Naledi is Thabiso’s betrothed which he has known all of his life since they were kids. So it is literally them meeting as adults and rather than convincing her to marry him because she is supposed to, he has to do things her way. And I think the icing on the cake for me with this one is that Naledi didn’t have to leave her life behind because of Thabiso. She worked very hard to get where she is so seeing her not have to leave everything she worked for behind was great to see.

 

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